Newcastle's Great Race home for charity

This article has photo gallery Published on FLTLT Bel Scott (author), LSIS Steven Thomson (photographer)

Location(s): Jakarta, Indonesia, Cairns, QLD

Topic(s): Charities, Fundraising & Community, HMAS Newcastle (F06), Indo-Pacific Endeavour

Members of HMAS Newcastle's ship's company participate in a charity fundraising event on the flight deck while alongside in Jakarta, Indonesia during INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR 2019. (photo: LSIS Steven Thomson)
Members of HMAS Newcastle's ship's company participate in a charity fundraising event on the flight deck while alongside in Jakarta, Indonesia during INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR 2019.

In an effort to raise funds one last time before she decommissions in June, HMAS Newcastle is conducting a major fundraising event aptly named ‘The Great Race’ as she makes her way home from INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR 2019.

Since her commissioning in 1993, Newcastle has had a close affiliation with the ship’s charity the Newcastle Senior School (formerly known as the Hunter Orthopaedic School), which provides education and life skills for adolescent children with special needs.

It was a suggestion by former Lady Mayoress of Newcastle, Margaret McNaughton, who was also the ‘launching lady’ for the ship, which began the association.

Newcastle’s Weapons Electrical Engineering Officer, Lieutenant Commander Gavin Newhill, is the ambassador of the final fundraising event.

“During the final leg of INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR 2019, Newcastle will undertake a challenge that aims to build a lasting and memorable bond amongst the ship’s company,” Lieutenant Commander Newhill said.

“We will ‘race the ship’ from Jakarta to Cairns, where members of the crew will walk, run, row or ride stationary bikes for 24 hours a day on the ship’s upper decks during the 10-day transit, for a combined distance of 4920 kilometres.

“This activity targets morale and aims to strengthen resilience within the Navy, strengthen relationships beyond Navy, and make Australia proud. 

“Together and with your support, the Royal Australian Navy can make a difference to the children one last time,” Lieutenant Commander Newhill said.

Newcastle will also finalise her connection to the charity after years of support and friendships to the students through donations, working bees at the school and exclusive tours of the ship for students and their families.

The Newcastle crew seeks support through donations, advocacy and words of encouragement via a funding page at https://www.gofundme.com/thegreatrace.